Jack Is Back in First 24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY Trailer

Kiefer Sutherland’s iconic Jack Bauer character returns in the reboot of 24 — now trimmed down to a lean 12 episodes — that finds international fugitive Jack trying to prevent the assassination of the U.S. president in London.

However, just like every other series of 24, no one believes Jack, and this time he’s being hunted by CIA operative Kate Morgan, played by CHUCK’s Yvonne Strahovski (last seen in the tragically disappointing DEXTER series finale).

As you can see, Chloe O’Brian (Mary Lyn Rajskub) is back, and William Devane’s James Heller has been elevated from secretary of defense (in 2007’s series) to president! Also glimpsed: Kim Raver as Audrey Raines!

24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY debuts May 5 on Fox.

Soap Opera Weekly: 5/25/10

After the sheer awesomeness that was the LOST finale on Sunday night, I was amazingly disappointed in the final, back-to-back episodes of 24.

The first hour was mostly deadly dull exposition. I understand that foundations must be laid, but the basework here was drab and boring. I would expect the-powers-that-be to have honed the craft of creating exciting exposition for 24’s penultimate hour.

The final hour of Jack’s very long day was a bit more exciting, as the first half was filled with tension: Would Jack assassinate the Russian president — in sequence that called to mind the premise of season one, in which Jack fought to thwart the assassination of US presidential candidate David Palmer? Later, a furious Jack barking at Chloe to shoot him was vintage Jack at his “by any means necessary” best. And Chloe actually shooting him? Awesome. I was even crossing my fingers that she could upload the data file before being stopped.

But overall, it was a waste of time. The final chapter was devoted to tying off loose ends and wrapping up the overly convoluted story — as it related to other characters! Jack was barely in most of the episode! I love Chloe as much as the next 24 fan, but I need to her interacting with Jack, not Arlo and Cole, the shallow doppelgangers of the way she and Jack used to be.

As for Jack, he ended up stabbed, shot, beaten and on the run, a bloodied man hunted by the USA as well as Russia. This was our last glimpse of 24 as a series, and it was not a satisfying story. I wish TPTB had ended with some closure for character rather than a blatant set-up for a future movie. It made the TV finale feel less important; like it was just a launching pad for a big-screen venture.

Originally published on SoapOperaWeekly.com

Soap Opera Weekly: 1/15/10

Be sure to tune in to Fox Sunday for a double dose of adrenaline: an hour of the new series HUMAN TARGET followed by two hours of 24. (Maybe that’s a triple-shot).

Kiefer Sutherland is back for his eighth very bad day, but this time in a new town: New York. Jack is sucked into a plot to assassinate a Middle Eastern leader played by Anil Kapoor (Slumdog Millionaire). I have seen the first four hours, and I can tell you Jack is back in fine form, and lots of stuff explodes and bullets fly while bodies (and body parts) drop left and right. Focusing on protecting one man again (like the halcyon days of Season 1) actually freshens the show. We feel more connected with Kapoor’s Hassan, and let’s face it, Jack saving the entire globe for the umpteenth time can get a bit repetitive. Or… does it? (And who says the threat won’t…evolve?) Of course, this wouldn’t be 24 without a shocking twist or three. Speaking of threes, Monday’s third hour is when the action really cuts loose, building tension relentlessly into an explosive cliff-hanger. 24 premieres Sunday at a special time: 9 p.m., and then Monday’s two-fer begins at 8 o’clock.

At 8 on Sunday, leading into 24, however, is a “preview” of HUMAN TARGET, which moves to its regular time slot, Wednesdays at 8, on Jan. 20. TARGET stars Mark Valley (ex-Jack, DAYS OF OUR LIVES; ex-John, FRINGE) as a daredevil bodyguard. Look for BATTLESTAR GALACTICA’s Tricia Helfer (ex-Six) as Stephanie, his client.

Originally published on SoapOperaWeekly.com

24 Day 8: 12 a.m.-1 a.m.

Dana...or is it Jenny?

Now that Jenny’s trashy ex has been perforated by his partner-in-crime, Nick (who was in turn aerated by Cole), can 24 please get back to the matter at hand – those missing uranium fuel rods?

Dana’s out-of-office domestic intrigue detour has been a terrible drag on the excitement of Day 8. In a lot of ways this season has been a return to form for Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) as well as 24 itself. Unfortunately the back-to-basics approach seems have been a warts-and-all transformation, meaning the dull, credibility-stretching subplots are back (Remember Chloe and the baby? Zzzzz…). Has anyone ever labored in an office where the co-workers so worried about one another’s business? Whenever Arlo (John Boyd) wasn’t sexually harassing Dana, he was demanding to know who was talking to on the phone. I know these people are engaged in counterintelligence, but that kind of snooping beggars the imagination.

And viewers have already been asked to suspend their disbelief to accept one of the central premises of the refurbished CTU: Freddie Prinze Jr. as the lead field agent for an anti-terror organization. Now, Prinze may be a pleasant-enough comic actor, but he looks 14 years old. No way is this kid the go-to guy with Jack out of the picture. Cole Ortiz isn’t even Curtis.

Understand, I am a huge fan of Katee Sackhoff (Jenny/Dana), but this storyline has been a giant disappointment for her. She has had absolutely no opportunity to show viewers the charismatic brilliance she displayed as Battlestar Galactica’s Kara “Starbuck” Thrace. Heck, even her gig on the Bionic Woman reboot gave her more chances to shine. As Kara, Sackhoff was magnetic; as Dana, she is passive and reactive. I can understand Sackhoff wanting to show some range, but I really have little interest in seeing CTU’s crack data analyst crack like an eggshell when that loser Kevin showed his squirrely face. I hope the-powers-that-be give Jenny a chance to return to form as Dana and really contribute to the story.

Perhaps she can save us all from the annoyingly nosy Arlo!

24: I’ll Take That Pardon in Writing…


So there was 24 breaking out one of its all-time classic tropes, the letter of immunity from the president, last night. By now, fans can see it coming. As soon as Sergei Bazhaev (Jurgen Prochnow) said he would cooperate, I knew he would ask for full immunity. In writing. At least by now Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) knows to tell the president ahead of time, “He’s gonna want that in writing.” I am sure that the Justice Department in the 24 universe now has a form handy for just such a circumstance. They probably call it a “Bauer.” The night’s best laugh line came when Jack handed Bazhaev the cell and said, “The president of the United States wants to talk to you.”

It was fun watching Jack get tortured by that Russian thug. “Fun?” you say? Yes, fun, because the sequence so perfectly aped a similar scene in the movie Lethal Weapon (1987). You may recall that a character called Mr. Endo tortured Riggs (Mel Gibson) with a car battery while he was suspended from a pipe. Riggs ended up strangling Endo (Al Leong, also recognizable in a similar role in 1988’s Die Hard) with his legs while still dangling from the pipe. Here, Jack turned the electricity against the Russian, and then freed himself from the pipe in time to choke out the thug – but Jack’s hands and his feet were tied the whole time. Take that, Mel Gibson. Who’s a lethal weapon now? Jack is a living weapon. And bravo to Sutherland for doing a lot of that pipe stuntwork himself. (Or else that was damn clever camerawork.)
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Soap Opera Weekly: Night Shift 5/1909

So … what just happened on the two-hour season finale of 24? We know what appeared to be about to happen, but did it? Kim was just about to donate stem cells to save Jack’s life. And Renee was about to murder Alan Wilson. Well, the show was officially renewed for another season this week, so I’ll have to say that yes, Jack’s operation was a success, and no, Renee did not pull the trigger. I’d love to see Annie Wersching’s (ex-GENERAL HOSPITAL) character back next season. Day 8 will be filming in New York City this summer. In an atypical move, 24 devoted its final half-hour slowly tying up plot threads — including the political intrigue at the White House — but it did not resolve all of them. It was all rather low-key and, dare I say it, plodding. After yet another day of complicated action whipsawing through a single day, one could look at it as a chance to catch one’s breath and look back at what happened.

Jack’s trouble-magnet daughter, Kim (Elisha Cuthbert) was back, which meant she was in some kind of trouble. The bad guys threatened to kill her unless daddy Jack busted frenemy Tony out of federal custody. In a big change from previous seasons, Kim managed to save her own bacon and then actually contribute to finding her lost dad. Sure, there was chaos and mayhem all around her, but she did think for a change, and saved the assassin’s laptop, which contained valuable information. Tony, meanwhile, kept his cohorts from killing Jack by hatching a plan to use the pathogens in Jack’s contaminated blood to synthesize a new bioweapon. (Paul McGillion, best known as Dr. Beckett on STARGATE: ATLANTIS, played Levinson without the familiar Scottish accent, so it took me a second to recognize him as the doctor who analyzed Jack’s spinal fluid.) I loved that development. Jack himself became the threat! That was an ingenious inversion of the usual formula, in which Jack is our savior. And it also echoed the theme of the Senate hearings that opened the series: Is Jack Bauer more of a threat than the terrorists? Jack’s methods made him a monster, but is he our monster, or simply an uncontrollable force? Are we justified to use criminal techniques against criminals? Can we sink to their level and still call ourselves superior? Do the ends justify the means? This irony could have been explored a little more extensively, but at least it was there, indicating the-powers-that-be were not just paying lip service to the torture question for the early episodes. Recognizing the threat he posed, Jack tried to self-immolate with a flare in a puddle of gasoline, but Tony stopped him. (So why was Tony previously shooting at him?) The Big Bad was finally unmasked this week, and he turned out to be the force behind a lot of bad things that happened over the past few seasons. Alan Wilson (portrayed by Will Patton, known for portraying particularly evil slimeballs), was blamed for ordering the beloved David Palmer assassinated; he was the power behind the crooked President Logan; and he had Tony’s wife, Michelle Dessler, killed. It was that last crime that motivated Tony to spend almost five years trying to get close enough to Wilson to kill him. I must say, Tony really went through a lot to accomplish this goal — so much, in fact, that I kind of doubt this was the ending they originally had in mind. Tony’s involvement with the CIP device and the biological attack on Washington were both pretty unforgivable — even for a man avenging his wife and child (Michelle was revealed to be pregnant when she got blown up). It’s hard to believe 24 would set up Wilson as this tremendous baddie and then kill him offscreen. I’ll bet he shows up again on Day 8. Jack actually used what he believed to be his last minutes on Earth to have a philosophical discussion with Renee about the use of coercion. Jack warned it is a slippery slope. He said he knows in his mind the law in right, but in his heart he cannot accept it. In an even more shocking move, Jack summoned the Imam to seek forgiveness, and the Muslim holy man was beneficent, giving him absolution for all of his sins. What a bold choice by TPTB that was!

It was graduation day on GOSSIP GIRL, but the gang was more concerned with uncovering the identity of Gossip Girl herself. She chose now to deliver some of her most devastating gossip bombs ever, prompting Serena to actually fight back by unmasking her. Fingers were pointed, tears were shed, and in the end GG revealed that her motivation for the scorched-earth e-mails was to burn off all her reserves of secrets and give everyone a fresh start in college. The true identity of GG was never explicitly revealed, but the person widely rumored to be GG was clearly seen in the ending bar scene. (If you don’t know, I won’t ruin it for you, since the show seems determined to make it a continuing subplot.)

The key revelations of the night: Chuck learned that Blair slept with his Uncle Jack on New Year’s, and Blair heard about Chuck and Vanessa’s tryst. Chuck’s Beast continued to be powerless before Blair’s Beauty, and by the end of the episode he had to concede defeat and declare his love for her. What’s that, a happy ending for the Upper East Siders?

And the board was set up for next season:
•Jenny was crowned the new queen bee, and her first act was to ban headbands.
•Rufus finally proposed, and Lily accepted.
•Georgina announced her intention to attend NYU with Dan — and become Blair’s roommate.
•And then there was Scott, who’s really… Oh, but you already know who he is, right? If not, then I’ll never tell. XOXO…

Soap Opera Weekly: Night Shift 5/12/09

GOSSIP GIRL unleashed its “backdoor pilot” for a spin-off that centers on Lily’s adventures as a teen back in the 1980s. It was framed as a flashback in which the current Lily van der Woodsen (Kelly Rutherford) recalled the first time she was arrested, when she was played by Brittany Snow (ex-Daisy, GUIDING LIGHT; ex-Meg, AMERICAN DREAMS). Lily got herself kicked out of boarding school and went to Los Angeles to move in with her father — portrayed by ’80s teen icon Andrew McCarthy (Pretty in Pink) — and ran afoul of her booze-loving mother Cece, played by Cynthia Watros (ex-Annie, GL; ex-Libby, LOST). Of course, straight-arrow Lily had a wild-child sister, Carol (Krysten Ritter; Jane, BREAKING BAD), who wanted to be an actress. Lily was starting to stray from the well-planned, monied path that her parents had mapped out for her.

In other words, the characters are just cardboard clichés (I didn’t tell you that Dad is a workaholic, but did I really have to?), and what passes for a plot is mostly just an excuse to showcase period fashions (one imagines the target audience squealing and rolling their eyes during Lily’s fashion show) and music. Ska band No Doubt appeared onstage as a band called Snowed Out (Get it?) and performed a cover of Adam and the Ants’ “Stand and Deliver.” The dialogue was not better than the plot and characterization, with painfully on-the-nose lines like, “Is this the moment where you fall in love with me?” delivered at precisely the moment that viewers know the “bad boy” (Is there currently any other kind of romantic hero?) has fallen for the “good girl.” Yeesh.

All of this was in service of the age-old theme that we all become our parents once we become parents ourselves. I suppose that can be interpreted as a pro-parent message; anyone who doesn’t understand just hasn’t had a kid yet. But I prefer to think of it as lazy storytelling. The modern storyline was much more interesting, even if it did deal with prom hijinks. Chuck engineered the perfect prom for Blair, based on a scrapbook she’d been keeping since childhood. (I’ve decided that instead of Chuck becoming a wuss-bunny around Blair, it’s more like what happens when Superman is around kryptonite; he can’t help becoming weak as a kitten, no matter how much he doesn’t like it.) How ironic that Blair realized she was growing up in the very same episode that the series went juvenile in the ersatz ’80s.

In the season finale of HOUSE, M.D. (That’s really what it’s called, you know…) House realized that he has secretly been taking Vicodan for months, and he didn’t really sleep with Cuddy. So Wilson brought him to an asylum, where he was committed. How’s that for a bromance move?

Yes, Kim is back on 24, and that means she’s in danger. Worse, it means she’s a danger to others; specifically her father, Jack. I actually feel sorry for Elisha Cuthbert, who gamely keeps returning to this cursed character. It seems there’s literally nothing Kim can do that won’t get her pilloried by fandom. She’s just an odious character who can do nothing right. So once again she’s doing what she does best: causing Jack agita as a pawn of the baddies. Yup, that was Karim Prince (ex-Stan, GENERAL HOSPITAL) as the EMT whom Jack prevented from administering morphine so he could torture the bad guy with the gushing neck wound. You gotta love Jack putting the squeeze on a bleeding man — and using his patented sleeper hold on Tony. Then, when Tony woke up, Jack beat the snot (and blood) out of him! Nobody commits like Jack. (Well, maybe House, now, eh?)

I just wanted to point out that in THE AMAZING RACE 14 finale, siblings Tammy and Victor won the $1 million, just as I predicted/hoped. Jaime and Cara came in second place. What could possibly suck more than finishing second for $1 million? The gals had a great attitude, but c’mon! Luke and Margie completed the top three. It’s always great the way the previously eliminated teams are all there, cheering on the winners. I’ll let Phil sum it up: “You ran an amazing race.”

Soap Opera Weekly: Night Shift 3/17/09

The occasion of the senior play was an excuse for GOSSIP GIRL to pile on references to classic novels (yes, books) like The Age of Innocence, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Great Gatsby, and films like The Graduate and Eyes Wide Shut. (Don’t laugh. Stanley Kubrick himself reportedly considered EWS, completed just four days before his death in 1999, to be his greatest film.) So watching the episode was almost like taking a class. A class for models. The plot had the kids staging a performance of The Age of Innocence, with events at Constance Billard School for Girls paralleling the characters/situations in the Edith Wharton book. Toss in Rachel serving as Dan’s “Mrs. Robinson” (even though her portrayer, Laura Breckenridge, looks about 5 years younger than Penn Badgley) and Chuck pursuing Elle, and the episode was practically a pop-culture quiz. Rachel was forbidden from seeing Dan and ostracized by the other teachers, just like in the 19th century New York society of Wharton’s book. Dan was reduced to passing Rachel notes (Really? He couldn’t text her? Oh, I forgot, they didn’t have Twitter in the 1870s.) Meanwhile, Blair’s fall from grace with Yale allowed her to relate to her character, Countess Olenska. Nate conveniently played Beaufort, the dashing gentleman whose family lost its fortune. (Typecast much, Julian?) Even GOSSIP GIRL’s usual weekly romantic misunderstanding was classed up by having Nate jump to the wrong conclusion after seeing Vanessa’s Cyrano act. (BTW, Marty Scorsese’s adaptation of Innocence really is, as Nate observed, heartbreaking. Rent it.)

I decided to check in on 24 this week and, no surprise, Jack was running around, growling about killing people and and generally trying to convince someone that there are traitors in the government (again). Why, oh why, will no one in power believe Jack? He’s been battling terrorists and exposing traitors in the White House one day at a time for years. You cannot even argue that Jack’s previous missions might have been classified; people like the president’s chief of staff would have access to that intelligence. To me, that general lack of faith in Jack requires the biggest suspension of disbelief. That people would willingly convince themselves that this time Jack has gone off the rails and is lying…that is infinitely more silly than believing in private armies armed with WMD and doomsday gadgets on U.S. soil. How cool was it that Sebastian Roché’s (Jerry, GENERAL HOSPITAL) character, Quinn, got to fight Jack Bauer? The next time I talk to Sebastian the first thing I’m going to say is, “Dude, you got killed by Jack frakkin’ Bauer! How cool was shooting that?” Kiefer Sutherland got another one of those scenes he demands every season, where Jack gets to take a breath and emote. Here, Jack expressed regrets about wife Teri, about his daughter Kim, “and that the world even needs people like me.” Well, we certainly need Jack (and Kiefer) on TV.

This was only the second episode of CASTLE to air, yet the show already feels like it has settled into a groove — for better or worse. Kate seems a little too familiar with Rick so soon in their relationship; it’s almost as if this episode was filmed later in the production schedule, after Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic have had more time to get accustomed to each other. In fact, the relationship between the characters reminded me of BONES more than MOONLIGHTING last night, perhaps because Katic bears a slight resemblance to Emily Deschanel. (Well, from a distance, at least.) and that same sort of winking attitude. This particular episode also reminded me a lot of soaps, since YOUNG AND RESTLESS’s Michael Graziadei guested as Brent, the suspicious ex-boyfriend of a nanny who was found murdered and stuffed into a dryer. Sarah Drew (Kitty, MAD MEN; ex-Hannah, EVERWOOD) appeared as Chloe, a fellow nanny. There was also another daytime shout-out: After complaining that his own nanny spent her time drinking and watching soaps instead of raising him, Castle acknowledged that he got the plot for his first novel from watching ONE LIFE TO LIVE. (Nudge-nudge, wink-wink!) I like how Rick “investigates” cases by thinking about what would make a “good story” — thus leading the police to consider someone other than the obvious, lazy suspects. Fillion’s Rick also got off the best line of the entire night, while suggesting that Kate should get married: “You’d be good at it. You’re both controlling and disapproving.”

Soap Opera Weekly: Night Shift 2/24/09

Okay, I have to say that I lost patience with HEROES last night thanks to the very last scene of the episode: Matt painted a mural Washington, D.C., being destroyed by a nuclear blast. Ugh. Another nuclear blast? And, to make it more familiar, Matt painted himself apparently strapped with explosives, blowing up! Isaac did the very same paintings — including a mural on his floor — in the first season (featuring New York as ground zero)! How many times have we seen a prescient painting of some nuclear explosion that is supposed to herald the end of the world? Every volume? I guess we should be thankful it wasn’t New York. But c’mon, is it in the series bible that every volume has to contain one of these pesky Armageddon paintings? It’s bad enough that Matt has been afflicted with “paint the future” power that I hate, but does it have to be “paint the future as long as you foresee atomic blasts.” The lack of imagination this betrays is staggering. It’s almost like there’s somebody on the writing staff with the power to suck imagination out of the minds of other writers, like some sort of twisted version of the Haitian. So next week the question will be, “How do you stop yet another exploding man?” What made this shockingly non-shocking ending even more maddening for me was that it came at the end of an episode that focused on my favorite character, HRG. Noah was drugged and captured at the end of last week, and last night Matt used his mental powers to interrogate him. And the process hurt. We learned that Nathan approached a jobless Noah with an offer to run his operation to round up people, sequester them, and find a way to deactivate them. But the Hunter, Danko, was placed in charge, apparently at the behest of people above Nathan, and HRG found himself taking orders from a True Believer. “These aren’t terrorists you’re hunting; they’re people,” HRG argued. “They’re targets,” Danko corrected him.

The interrogation raised some of the very same questions that HEROES’ timeslot competition, 24, is examining this season: How far should the good guys go in pursuing the bad guys in order to protect the innocents? If “good guys” stoop to the tactics of the “bad guys,” are they still “good guys”? Do the ends always justify the means? What if it’s really necessary to torture in order to save lives? Who makes that call? That is a conversation worth having, not “How do we stop an exploding man this week?” Of course, since HRG is made of awesome, he is not really rounding up evolved humans and sending them to concentration camps; he’s an undercover agent for Angela Petrelli who ordered him to ingratiate himself with the Nathan/Danko faction by whatever means necessary. “You know me,” he winked. “I’ve always been comfortable with morally gray.”

A couple of random observations about this truly disappointing episode:

•HRG’s lock combination was 7957, which I believe was the same code he told Claire to use to override the security locks in Level 5.
•Since Peter got from Costa Verde, Calif., to Washington D.C. in mere moments, he must have taken a ballistic trajectory, which means instead of flying low over the terrain, he flew straight up to the edge of space, adjusted his angle, and then flew straight down on the East Coast.
•How good is Danko’s security detail if they don’t guard windows, and nobody spotted Angela sitting mere feet away from his final meeting with HRG?

Leaving that behind, Jesse Lee Soffer (ex-Will, AS THE WORLD TURNS) appeared on CSI: MIAMI as Shane Huntington, a spoiled a rich guy who was in therapy because, “I can’t access my feeling.” He was completely amoral, but spoiler alert! not the killer.

Soap Opera Weekly: Night Shift 1/27/09

“Omigod, we’re on the set of GENERAL HOSPITAL!” That was the cry as the gang from THE BACHELOR rolled up to the soundstage for a tour. The group then “ran into” Bradford Anderson and Kirsten Storms playing out a fake scene. From there, it unfolded pretty much as Bradford explained it to me (in the current issue of Weekly — buy yours now!): The girls got to play out soap-inspired scenes with Jason as imaginary characters that had nothing to do with GH beyond the hospital and penthouse sets. Even allowing for the fact that everyone was an amateur, the “acting” was ridiculously over-the-top, which I found interesting because it showed how the women perceive soaps: as wildly melodramatic and ridiculous. Their movements and line readings were like a high school play, and the show didn’t help by layering on laughable music. Some of the women got to kiss Jason and some didn’t, according to what was in their scripts. (Storms advised: “No tongues; that’s a filming rule.”) Those who did made the most of it, practically chewing poor Jason’s face off. (I’m looking at you, Naomi and Megan.) The women in the offcamera, peanut gallery laughed and sniped and fretted over the kissing. One thing ABC did right was to advertise GH during the break. The slick spot made the soap look dramatic and mature, rivaling anything currently in ABC’s prime-time lineup. (GREY’S ANATOMY has Ghost Denny? GH has ghost Alan!)

Renee was well on her way to becoming a ghost on 24, when Bill and Chloe dug her up and revived her with an adrenaline shot (that was nothing like what happened in Pulp Fiction). Bill reassured her by saying, “We’re working with Jack.” Of course she can’t call in because of the mole in the FBI. Later, when she met up with Jack again, “You shot me and buried me alive,” she sneered, before asking if just four people can stop Dubaku’s mad scheme. “We have to,” Jack sighed. “It’s as simple as that.” And that perfectly sums up the 24 universe. During his testimony before the Senate, Jack pointed out that he stepped up and did what (he figured) he had to do to solve problems when nobody else would. This has been a recurring theme: Jack acts because no one else will. While terrorists are using the CIP device to crash airliners, the politicians are wringing hands and debating, but Jack and his intrepid crew are boots on the ground, knee-deep in bad guy guts. Speaking of the politicians, Cherry Jones had some good scenes as President Taylor wrestled with whether to meet Dubaku’s demands to save American lives. “This country does not negotiate with terrorists!” she snarled, while Mark Derwin’s Secretary of State Joe Stevens flipped out and quit in protest. The president’s anguish and speech rallying the troops was just one example of how this episode balanced heavy exposition (including the revelation of how Emerson faked Tony’s death and extracted him from CTU) with lots of bloodshed. The subplot with first gentleman Roger continued to be completely lurid: A paralyzed Roger watched as Agent Gedge brutally knifed Samantha in the back and left her in a growing pool of blood. Then Roger killed the guy with his bare hands (apparently, parts of him were beginning to become unparalyzed…)! The episode ended with Dubaku targeting a chemical plant in Ohio, putting 18,000 lives at risk. Can Jack get there in time?

Hannah/Belle had a bit of a crisis of her own to deal with on SECRET DIARY OF A CALL GIRL this week: She wrestled with having cosmetic surgery (or “professional development”) and whether to take on Bambi as a formal protégé. The eager young newbie left Belle feeling the years and even more insecure about her body and her social life. Hannah decided to go on a date with Alex, the guy she met in her Belle persona, and was having a good time until a crisis with Bambi forced Hannah to realize once again that Belle and Hannah should not mix. “You can’t let the job change you,” Belle said, as she decided against getting implants.

This week’s episode of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA will be remembered as the one in which Admiral Adama and President Roslin finally gave in to their long-simmering passions and hooked up. They probably figured that after the debacle with Earth, the open rebellion and near-anarchy sweeping the fleet (the tylium-refinery ship Hitei Kan actually jumped away, taking all the fuel with it!), they have nothing left to lose. “Maybe tomorrow isn’t really coming,” she reasoned. “Maybe today is all we have.” Plus, most folks probably assumed they were already getting it on. This episode also had major developments for families: Caprica Six was confirmed as pregnant by Saul Tigh, marking the first-ever Cylon/Cylon reproduction; and Galen Tyrol discovered he is not the father of his late wife Cally’s son, Nicky. The daddy is Viper pilot Brendan “Hot Dog” Costanza (FYI, played by Bodie Olmos, real-life son of the admiral himself, Edward James Olmos). This was a big episode for Doc Cottle: He that revealed that abortion is illegal in the fleet, so Cally had the baby, and Hot Dog did not know he is the father. When a shocked Saul asked for a drink while looking at the ultrasound of his child, Cottle offered him a cigarette instead, claiming it was better for him. Despite that obvious humor, things look bleak for the rag-tag fleet. Vice President Tom Zerak (played by the original Apollo, Richard Hatch) is whipping up anti-Cylon bigotry to further his own political ambitions. Baltar is stirring up his religious followers and clearly shows signs of beginning to drink his own Kool-Aid. And Mr. Gaeta seems to be plotting mutiny and organizing on Galactica. Which is odd, since he was a Cylon collaborator on New Caprica. And just when the fleet appears to be growing more discontent with Cylons, Adama and Roslin want to align more closely with them, including adapting toaster technology to improve the fleet’s engines. And the renegade Cylons? All they’re demanding is full citizenship in the fleet!